Coming off Friday’s heroic win over the Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Lakers appeared poised for back-to-back wins for the first time in as many weeks at the start of Saturday’s game against the Washington Wizards.
LA took a 36-26 lead late in the first quarter. He led by as many as 15 in the third period, but then lost his mojo.
The Wizards went on a 10-2 run to end the quarter and closed within six early in the fourth quarter. Midway through the final frame, they took the lead, as the Lakers couldn’t stop Washington center Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 27 points.
Defense: One of the Lakers’ biggest weaknesses this season was ultimately their undoing in their 127-119 loss. They allowed the Wizards to shoot 51.8 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from 3-point range for the game and also allowed 31 free throw attempts.
Stanley Johnson: B+
Johnson had a strong offensive game, going 5-for-9 from the field and hitting both of his free throw attempts, though he was 0-for-2 from center.
He scored 12 points in 25 minutes and also had four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Austin Reaves: B
Reaves returned to the starting lineup on Saturday and scored nine points in 27 minutes on 3-for-6 shooting from the field and 1-for-4 from center. He also added two rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Monk Malik: A
Monk was red hot from the field against Washington, shooting 6-for-9 and 3-for-5 from center. He scored 17 points in 28 minutes, along with three assists.
However, he was disappointing down the stretch, scoring just three points in the fourth quarter. The Lakers needed the most from him during that stretch, as it was the stretch that caused them to lose the game.
Russell Westbrook: one
Although Westbrook had five turnovers, he was strong in almost every other facet of the game. Just one night after posting a triple-double and hitting the 3-pointer that forced overtime, he had 22 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a block.
His shooting efficiency was outstanding, as he was 10-for-15 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. His mid-range jump shot was also wet, as it helped keep LA in contention down the stretch.
Could he be starting to stir near the end of the season like he did last year as a member of the Wizards?
LeBron James: A+
James once again feasted with 38 points on 16-for-29 shooting, 10 rebounds and six assists. The way he continues to defy Father Time is simply something to behold at 37 years old, especially with the incredible mileage he has.
He did all of that tonight in the second of a series of back-to-back games while continuing to deal with a troublesome left knee.
In the first half, he achieved another milestone when he passed Karl Malone to move into second place in his career points. At this rate, he’ll pass Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the league’s all-time leading scorer sometime next season, as long as he stays healthy.
Carmelo Anthony: A-
After missing Friday’s game due to illness, Anthony gave the Lakers a boost with his shooting. He made 5 of 10 shots from the field and 3 of 6 from the center to give the team 13 points in 23 minutes, along with four rebounds.
Wenyen Gabriel: B-
One night after the best start of his career, Gabriel played just 12 minutes, in part due to the return of Anthony. The rookie grabbed four rebounds, but made just 1 of 3 shots from the field and scored four points.
Avery Bradley: C
Bradley had little impact Saturday. In 18 minutes he made only two shots, managing one of them to score two points and adding two rebounds.
Talen Horton-Tucker: D+
It was a tough game for Horton-Tucker as he missed all five of his shots, had two turnovers and didn’t make it to the free throw line. However, he did contribute by getting three assists and three rebounds in 17 minutes.
DJ Agustin 😀
Augustin had a weak outing, going 1-for-3 from the field for two points in 18 minutes. He had no assists or rebounds.